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Scottish Book Trust Announces Recipients of New Writers Awards 2018

Published: 17 Jan 2018

Scottish Book Trust, the national charity transforming lives through reading and writing, has supported over 90 creative individuals through the New Writers Awards since 2009. Today, Scottish Book Trust announces the 10 new awardees for this prestigious prize, which is supported by Creative Scotland.

The New Writers Awards provide a selection of talented writers who have not yet published a full length book or collection with financial support, to enable them to concentrate on developing their work, as well as professional guidance to help them move towards publication. Former awardees include Graeme Macrae Burnet, who was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2016, and authors Ciara MacLaverty, Olga Wojtas, Juliette Forrest, Kirsty Logan, Malachy Tallack and Claire Askew, who have publications out this year.

The New Writers Awards develop our emerging literacy talent through tailored mentoring and training at this crucial stage in their career- Alan Bett, Creative Scotland

Each of the 10 recipients will receive a £2,000 cash award and support tailored to their needs including mentoring from writers and industry professionals, training in public relations, social media and performance, and the opportunity to showcase their work to publishers and agents. The awards also include the offer of a week-long writing retreat at Moniack Mhor. The retreat provides time, space and the freedom to create new work in idyllic surroundings.

Five authors from Glasgow have been nominated for the 2018 New Writers Awards: Duncan Stewart Muir, an English teacher; Fiona McKeracher, a writer; Eilidh McCabe, a copywriter and content editor; Mary Fitzpatrick, a retired teacher and Rhona Warwick, a freelance writer.

Four authors from Edinburgh have also been nominated: Aileen Ballantyne, a tutor at Edinburgh University; Nadine Aisha Jassat, a gender-based violence professional; Beth Cochrane, programme and events coordinator at Scottish Poetry Library and Anne Hughes, a software developer.

Samantha Clark, an online tutor and visual artist from Orkney, has also been selected for the 2018 New Writers Awards.

The three judging panels reviewed over 450 submissions which included fiction and narrative non-fiction, poetry and children’s/young adult entries, before selecting the final 10. This year’s judges included Asif Khan, Director of the Scottish Poetry Library, and writers Chitra Ramaswamy, Kevin MacNeil, Cheryl Follon, Matthew Fitt, Peter MacKay and Julie Bertagna.

The Gaelic Books Council provides two additional places on the programme which will support two New Gaelic Writers each year.

Support for an additional place is also generously provided by The Callan Gordon Award, which was set up by his family to celebrate the life of Callan Gordon, a young Scottish writer. The Callan Gordon Award is open to short story writers and poets between the ages of 18 and 35.

The full list of the 2018 New Writers Awardees is as follows.


Aileen Ballantyne

Rhona Warwick

Duncan Stewart Muir

Children’s and Young Adult

Anne Hughes

Fiona McKeracher     

Fiction and Narrative Non-Fiction

Samantha Clark         

Beth Cochrane                                   

Mary Fitzpatrick         

Nadine Aisha Jassat                          

Eilidh McCabe


Alistair Paul

Calum MacKinnon

The Callan Gordon Award

Sasha Thanisch

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: “We’re delighted to welcome the next batch of New Writers Awardees. Writing can be a challenging process, and the New Writers Awards provides one-on-one support for current projects, as well as guidance for the future. All of us at Scottish Book Trust look forward to the fruits of the New Writers’ efforts and the expansion of the Scottish literary scene.”

Alan Bett, Literature Officer, Creative Scotland, said: “The New Writers Awards develop our emerging literacy talent through tailored mentoring and training at this crucial stage in their career, and in doing so contributes to the strength of Literature in Scotland. Through winning the award, winners have often grown ever more recognisable and have taken their place amongst the ranks of Scotland’s established and celebrated authors- a list that now includes previous winners; Graeme Macrae Burnet, Kirsty Logan and Helen Sedgwick.”

Nadine Aisha Jassat said: “I am really thrilled to receive this award and have my work recognised, supported, and invested in by Scottish Book Trust. It’s an incredible honour to be selected and I would encourage future applicants to apply, apply, apply!”

The New Writers Showcase, a celebration of work by the New Writers Awardees of 2017, will be held tomorrow (18 January 2018) at The Jam House in Edinburgh. The event is an opportunity to hear some of the most exciting new talent in Scotland perform their work, as last year’s awardees mark the end of their year. More details and ticket information can be found here.